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Athena answered, "Do not try to keep me, for I would be on my way at once. As for any present you may be disposed to make me, keep it till I come again, and I will take it home with me. You shall give me a very good one, and I will give you one of no less value in return."

With these words she flew away like a bird into the air, but she had given Telemakhos courage, and had made him think more than ever about his father. He felt the change, wondered at it, and knew that the stranger had been a god, so he went straight to where the suitors were sitting.

Phemios was still singing, and his hearers sat rapt in silence as he told the baneful tale of the homecoming [nostos] from Troy, and the ills Athena had laid upon the Achaeans. Penelope, daughter of Ikarios, heard his song from her room upstairs, and came down by the great staircase, not alone, but attended by two of her handmaids. When she reached the suitors she stood by one of the bearing posts that supported the roof of the cloisters with a staid maiden on either side of her. She held a veil, moreover, before her face, and was weeping bitterly.

"Phemios," she cried, "you know many another feat of gods and heroes, such as poets love to celebrate. Sing the suitors some one of these, and let them drink their wine in silence, but cease this sad tale, for it breaks my sorrowful heart, and reminds me of my lost husband for whom I have grief [penthos] ever without ceasing, and whose name [kleos] was great over all Hellas and middle Argos."

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load focus Notes (W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, 1886)
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